Molina leads Cardinals to 13th straight win over Reds, 6-4
By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Yadier Molina stood on second base and heard the Cardinals fans chanting his name in celebration. He’s usually in the middle of things whenever St. Louis wins at Great American Ball Park.
And lately, that’s been every single time.
Molina doubled with the bases loaded, and Michael Wacha pitched two-run ball into the sixth inning Saturday, leading the Cardinals to a 6-4 victory and their 13th straight win over the Reds.
“We’re playing well,” said Jordan Hicks, who pitched the ninth for his first career save in three tries. “I think the future is bright.”
The Cardinals also homered three times as they extended their second-longest streak of domination in a rivalry that goes back to the 1800s. They beat them 18 times in a row in 1930-31.
St. Louis has also won 11 straight in Cincinnati, its longest such streak since it first visited the city in 1892. The Cardinals’ longest road winning streak against any club is 18 in a row at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field from 1964-66.
“Our record against them is not good,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said . “We’ve had some great games against them and we keep coming up short. I really feel like our club is close to being a respectable club.”
The two Cardinals with impressive career numbers against Cincinnati led the way.
Molina delivered another pivotal hit in the ballpark where he’s been booed each time his name has announced since his brawl with Brandon Phillips in 2010.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the third, Molina doubled to center for a 5-0 lead. Cardinals fans chanted “Yadi!” as he stood on second. Molina has more homers (14), hits (118), doubles (26), extra-base hits (40) and RBIs (57) at Great American Ball Park than at any other road park.
His 57 RBIs at GABP are tied with Albert Pujols for second most by a visiting player, one behind Lance Berkman.
“What a big hit,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He steps up with the bases loaded, the crowd is booing — I don’t know, it seems to help him. This is a place where he hits very well.”
Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna homered back-to-back in the first inning off Luis Castillo (4-7). It was Martinez’s third homer in five at-bats. Matt Carpenter connected in the seventh.
Wacha (8-1) gave up Eugenio Suarez’s two-run homer in 5 2/3 innings for his 11th career win against the Reds, tying Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn for most among active pitchers. The Cardinals have won his last 13 starts against Cincinnati, and Wacha is 10-0 with a 2.48 ERA during that span.
In his start against the Pirates last Sunday, Wacha took a no-hitter into the ninth before Colin Moran had a leadoff single. Wacha has allowed only seven hits in his last three outings and has held opponents to two runs or fewer in 10 straight starts.
“Everything’s been feeling good and now it’s on to the next one,” Wacha said.
The Reds fell to a season-low 22-43, the second-worst 65-game start in franchise history. The 1934 club was one game worse.
Wacha is the first Cardinals pitcher to win eight straight decisions since Joe Kelly in 2013. It’s the best streak of his career.
Molina’s double was his 339th, tying Ray Lankford for ninth all-time in St. Louis history. It also gave him 100 career RBIs against the Reds. … Reds starters have lasted six innings in back-to-back starts for the first time since May 20-22. … Jesse Winker hit a solo homer in the eighth, the first that Sam Tuivailala has allowed this season in 18 appearances. … Jose Peraza extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest by a Reds player this season. Scott Schebler has a career-best nine-game streak.
Reds: Homer Bailey will make his first rehab start Monday with Triple-A Louisville. He’s been on the 10-day DL since June 2 with a sore right knee. Bailey is 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA in 12 starts.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (3-2, 1.83) makes his second start since returning from a strained muscle in his right side. He lasted only four innings and walked five in a 7-4 loss to Miami on Tuesday.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (0-1, 7.20) makes his second start of the season. He gave up four runs in five innings of a 9-6 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday. DeSclafani missed all last season with a strained elbow and the first two months of this season with a strained oblique.
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